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GPU usage plummets in Ul'dahFollow

#1 May 21 2011 at 7:43 PM Rating: Decent
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I apologize in advance for another "what is wrong with my pc" thread, but after extensive researching and testing I am completely out of ideas. First of all, here is my build:

Asus M4A87TD EVO mobo
Athlon II X4 640 ~3.65Ghz
2x MSI Radeon HD 5770
4GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333
Western Digital Cavalier Black 500GB
Plenty of cooling

Alright, as of right now, anywhere outside of Ul'dah I am getting a SOLID 55-60FPS with everything maxed (no AO and General Drawing Quality at 8) Multisampling is at 8x and Depth of Field is on as well. Needless to say it looks amazing and I couldn't be happier with the results of adding a second 5770. Both of my cards sit at about ~75-85% load. In fact, I can turn on AO and still pull over 20 FPS outside of town (w/o draw quality). Here is my problem. As soon as I roll up into Ul'dah, my GPU's drop to ~35-40% each and my framerate plummets to between 20-25.

I was forced to go to windowed mode to check my CPU usage (no crossfire, 1 gpu only). CPU stays under 60%, so no problem there. The funny thing is, I actually get better performance in town with one GPU. With the exact same graphics setting, I get similar FPS, and it is noticeably smoother. Similarly, where I get full load of 90%+ outside of town, it is for some reason limited to around 65-70% in town. Outside of town getting 28-35 FPS with max settings on one card, definitely playable.

Can anyone think of a reason why being in town would limit GPU usage? The only thing I can think of (since it is happening with both one card and two) is that SE's horrendous coding is to blame. Maybe my memory? Does anyone have any insight? Either way, until I can find a fix I'll be running on one card (with some lowered settings) because windower > FPS gains outside of town.

The only other thing I can think to try is removing my second card and seeing if I get the same results, but too tired atm and since second GPU stays at 0% in windowed mode I doubt anything will change.



Notes: Using D3DOverrider(amazing btw) instead of RadeonPro for forced triple buffering and vsync.
Frame rates gathered from FRAPS, GPU usage through Afterburner overlay, and CPU usage through Core Temp.
Latest ATI drivers (including 11.5a hotfix) and 11.2 CAP4





Edited, May 21st 2011 9:51pm by mullesch85
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#2 May 21 2011 at 7:54 PM Rating: Excellent
I would imagine that, among other things, Uldah doesn't have a lot of eye-candy that really stresses the GPU, like trees and plants, so your GPU usage would plummet - but because the game engine still isn't that optimised, it keeps your card at that usage level. This is problematic, since player models don't really utilise GPU power ><
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#3 May 21 2011 at 8:09 PM Rating: Decent
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Hmm yeah that's a good point, you are probably right. Have been tinkering a little more....turned of DoF and turned down multisampling to 2x. For some reason, similar frame rates are much much smoother on one card. Either FRAPS is misleading, or running crossfire with 1 card at x16 PCI and the other at X4 is causing rendering conflicts. Either way I'm giving up on crossfire for this game.
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#4 May 21 2011 at 8:26 PM Rating: Decent
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"Either way I'm giving up on crossfire for this game"

yup isnt worth it =(
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#5 May 21 2011 at 8:30 PM Rating: Decent
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I have a 635 and a 5770 too, the engine is not 4 core optimized so CPU won't cap at 100% but at 50%, Uldah with all the people around becomes CPU bound, Grid because of the trees is actually GPU bound.
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#6 May 21 2011 at 8:46 PM Rating: Decent
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I remember reading somewhere that this games runs best on a dual core with a decent OC (3.8Ghz+) right? So...i would need to downgrade to a dual core to maximize my FPS in Ul'dah? or would a 6-core have the same result?
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#7 May 22 2011 at 12:18 AM Rating: Decent
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mullesch85 wrote:
I remember reading somewhere that this games runs best on a dual core with a decent OC (3.8Ghz+) right? So...i would need to downgrade to a dual core to maximize my FPS in Ul'dah? or would a 6-core have the same result?


Reducing the number of cores won't help, it simply needs the fastest CPU possible with at least 2 cores. In other words, an i7, or an AMD bulldozer when they are released.

My recommendation is to live with it, upgrade your whole computer in 6 months.
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#8 May 22 2011 at 2:23 AM Rating: Decent
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If FFXIV is only using half of my Athlon II and dual GPUs, why would I rush out for a next gen processor, or a whole new build for that matter? In these forums and others people have posted builds that cost twice as much as mine with minimal gains in performance (pretty much maxed everything except AO and draw quality is the limit for reasonable builds). At this point, it's clear that FFXIV's hardware optimization is the problem. Until SE fixes optimization issues (doubtful) or I can buy a single card that dominates max settings, I'll just stick with what I have. D3DOverride fixed all of the issues I had with single card. I get zero screen stuttering even in congested areas, and my character doesn't have a seizure when traveling over rough terrain anymore thanks to forced triple buffering. I might try to set up dual displays to utilize my second card, since Ill be windowed anyways.

Also, I understand it's not just an issue with FFXIV, ATI leaves alot to be desired as well. CCC is pretty much useless. Force Vsync and triple buffer do not work at all, and trying to switch from crossfire to single card and back destroys my desktop settings. It doesn't even have a force crossfire option like RadeonPro does. How can a third party program offer more direct support and utility for hardware than the manufacturer? Next build I'm going single card Nvidia no doubt.
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#9 May 22 2011 at 11:08 AM Rating: Good
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Blog it.
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